History of the Department

Although the University was officially founded in 1167, our Department began its life comparatively recently from a single room in the University Museum in 1912.Exterior of building with groups of people 3

Since then, we have grown to become one of the leading Pharmacology Departments in the UK and one of only two 5* rated Pharmacology departments in the UK, with an annual research budget of some £4M. The Department incorporates the MRC Anatomical Neuropharmacology Unit and provides space and research support for approximately 180 scientists, including 50 graduate students and international visitors.

The Department’s research is at the highest international level. Scientists are engaged in the investigation of basic questions concerning the interactions of chemical substances with biological systems, increasing our understanding of gene function in living organisms in the post-genomic age.

The Department is a centre of excellence in calcium imaging.  Intracellular calcium signals are the most ubiquitous of cellular control mechanisms.  The role of the cyclic ADP ribose and NAADP as intracellular calcium mobilizing messengers is a central theme in projects spanning cardiovascular pharmacology to egg fertilization. Neuropharmacology is another focus, including the application of novel imaging techniques to the study of neurotransmitter release and action at receptors.  As well as increasing fundamental understanding of biological processes (including memory), research in these areas provides the basis for developing novel drug targets for common neurological diseases, as does investigation of inflammation in the nervous system and a study of the role of individual receptor types in depression and addiction. Research in pharmacogenomics includes identification of novel targets for anti-tubercular drugs.

Former members of academic staff include:

Sir William Paton

Sir John Vane

Professor Edith Bulbring

Dr Hugh Blaschko

Dr Harold Ing